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Grotjahn, M. (1950). Psychiatry. XII, 1949: Countertransference and Attitudes of the Analyst in the Therapeutic Process. Leo Berman. Pp. 159–166.. Psychoanal Q., 19:284-284.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychiatry. XII, 1949: Countertransference and Attitudes of the Analyst in the Therapeutic Process. Leo Berman. Pp. 159–166.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:284-284

Psychiatry. XII, 1949: Countertransference and Attitudes of the Analyst in the Therapeutic Process. Leo Berman. Pp. 159–166.

Martin Grotjahn

'Countertransference' according to Berman means those reactions of the analyst to the patient which are based on the analyst's reactions to important figures in the analyst's past. By 'attitudes' Berman means the emotional reactions of the analyst as a person during the treatment hour, including the reasonable and appropriate emotional responses and his characteristic defenses. Berman describes the situation only as it develops with a competent analyst and he does not concern himself with instances of obviously faulty psychoanalytic practice. The analyst must be the cool, detached, surgeonlike operator and simultaneously the warm, human, friendly, helpful physician. The first point has been often emphasized; the second has been treated only sketchily in analytic literature.

The totality of the analyst's positive feelings is described as 'dedication' in the wide sense, dedication of the good leader and the good parent which apparently provides the optimal emotional climate for the specific work of the analysis. The qualitative emotional response in the analyst to his patient will tend to be about the same as that felt by most people, especially by 'good parents'. But the quantitative response will be less intensive and its duration shorter. The analyst is thus an active participant in the analytic situation. An important therapeutic factor is to be found in the patient's experience of the process through which the analyst under stress achieves realistic and well-integrated functioning.

Should the analyst manifest a tendency toward defensiveness and over-secretiveness, the patient may react either by behaving like the analyst (and important areas remain unanalyzed), or the patient may be driven to act out both inside and outside the analysis in order to provoke the analyst into expressing his emotional interest in him. Another difficulty arises when the analyst is impelled by his excessive feelings for the patient to manifest exaggerated responses, whether aggressive or oversolicitous. The patient perceives such responses as a failure on the part of the analyst to demonstrate the 'wisdom and strength which would lead him out of the maze in which he had been wandering unhappily since childhood'.

Many technical problems arise in relation to the manner, circumstances and dosage of the proofs of 'humanness' and dedication to the patient. Analysts try to arrive at them intuitively but it is not possible to be so keenly attuned to the patient that one can at all times achieve an accurate dosage. However, if this 'failing' does not become excessive, it too can contribute to the therapeutic result and the patient is afforded the experience of 'the reality of a person who dedicates himself to the task of helping him grow up and who comes through reasonably well, in spite of obvious difficulties'.

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Article Citation

Grotjahn, M. (1950). Psychiatry. XII, 1949. Psychoanal. Q., 19:284-284

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